Tokyoflash's Kisai Stencil watch: telling the time with negative space

Tokyoflash's latest Kisai watch is the Kisai Stencil, based on a concept design submitted by a math teacher named Heather Sable. It uses "negative space" to draw the numbers, a display that is cryptic at first but is easy to read at a glance once you've figured out the knack of it.

I found that I had a knack for creating read-at-a-glance designs with cryptic looking, yet easy to read digits. I designed the digits for this concept by starting with rectangular shapes, and cutting out unnecessary pieces using line segments and dots. By arranging them into four quadrants with some connecting lines, the display appears to be just a bunch of stencilled in lines and dots, while if you read the background, you can see the digits clearly.

When I got an email from Tokyoflash telling me they were interested in this design, I was absolutely elated. I had a huge smile on my face for the entire day. Now that I see how my concept has been brought to reality as Kisai Stencil, I am super-excited. The fact that Tokyoflash decided to emboss the digits I created on the strap fits so perfectly with the fact that I am a Math Teacher - of course there are numbers on my watch strap!

Kisai Stencil LCD Watch


  1. I’ve been using a font based on the same concept for several decades as a way to write private notes to myself.

  2. The first person who says it looks like a swastika is getting a swift visit from the Slap Fairy.

  3. I got their email this morning and was actually excited about this watch. 
    I like it but the type is bad. Terrible might be a better word.For example, the number four  should not have a little block at it’s foot. It reads more like a lower case “y”. And the “1” reads like 11. A simple pixel outline around the edges would help.So while I was about to rush out and buy this, the details held me back. I mean, it’s all about the type, it should have been a little more thought out. A proper font is needed here. But then this is the same problem I have with all TF watches – and I have a couple: they don’t create interesting new ways to tell time. They create interesting and difficult new ways to tell time. But the price is pretty great though. It’s only 100$ for a limited time. 

  4. OK, I have to ask.  Why is it, every time I try to go to the TokyoFlash website, it tells me that TokyoFlash has been closed?

    This is the link I’m forwarded to:

    I’m in Japan, so is it just not available to us?  I’d like to give them my money, but they’re making it difficult.

    1. Thanks, but apparently only the blog section is available to me.  Any of the other top categories kick me back to the same message, “TokyoFlash has been closed”.

  5. But this robot face one has me stompered

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